GSP is a group of students, faculty and graduates that provides programmatic support through mentorship opportunities, community building, financial assistance and advocacy work to FGLI undergraduates.
GSProud Week intended to showcase and celebrate the contributions of the FGLI community to Georgetown. This year’s theme was GSPower, aimed at publicly honoring the contributions of FGLI students to Georgetown’s broader community and recognizing the strengths of the FGLI student experience.
The week-long event comes in recognition of National First-Generation College Celebration (FGCC) Day Nov. 8. The day commemorates the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act (HEA), which provided federal financial aid programs for students in order to make higher education more accessible.
The week’s student-led and student-centered events included the chalking of Red Square, GSProud Kickoff on Healy Lawn, GSPaint & Sip, a panel with First-Generation Faculty and Admin, GSProud Community Dinner and GSPhoto.
Diana Tran (SON ’24), director of community engagement and campus collaborations for the GSP Student Board, spoke on Nov. 8 about the week’s events at GSP’s first-ever “First-Generation Faculty/Admin Panel” event.
“For this GSProud week, we started on Sunday night by chalking up Red Square and hanging up photos of GSPers from our annual GSProud photo campaign. It looked pretty good,” Tran said at the panel.
Tran added that the first set of programming involved community-bonding events like Monday night’s kickoff on Healy Lawn and Tuesday night’s painting event.
“On Monday, we laughed, we danced, we ate and chatted at our celebration’s kick-off on the lawn. And then last night we came together for some art, sandwiches and Corp beverages for our GSPaint and Sip event,” Tran said.
GSP collaborated with other campus organizations to put on GSProud week, including The Corp, a student-run nonprofit that holds six on-campus storefronts, Bossier Magazine, a “zine” dedicated to intersectional feminist voices and Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE), a pre-professional business program for undergraduate minorities. Each student organization helped to advertise the week by posting on Instagram about their support of the GSProud campaign and about GSP members within their organizations.
Lisa Kennedy (CAS ’25), director of community engagement and professional development for the GSP Student Board, said the collective effort from different organizations was intended to amplify FGLI students’ presence on campus.
“This year, one of our major goals is to increase awareness about the FGLI experience and identity among the broader campus community so that allies can learn how to better support their peers,” Kennedy wrote to The Hoya.
GSP leadership, consisting of Onrei Josh Ladao (CAS ’21), Alexis Green, Frankie Rubio (CAS ’16), Brenda Flores (CAS ’17), Albert Ramirez, Missy Foy (CAS ’03) and Abby Adams (CAS ’83), said that inviting other student groups to collaborate with the GSProud community helps to promote the central mission of the organization.
“It is important to continue and expand this work because visibility of the FGLI community is central to ensuring equity and access is at the heart of the work we do day in and day out,” members of GSP leadership wrote to The Hoya.
At the Nov. 8 panel, Roxanne Mirabal-Beltran, assistant professor in the School of Nursing and a first-generation college graduate, said that the lack of equitable resources she faced as a child transformed into a sense of self-determination to succeed within the education system.
“It didn’t make any sense to me, and so I started getting very angry. And for me, the anger was a source of power,” Mirabal-Beltran said at the event.
“Because what I did was, I was like, ‘Well, I’ll be damned if I fail out of the school. Like, I’m going to prove not only that I belong here, but that I belong here more than anybody else belongs here,’” Mirabal-Beltran added.
Valery Juarez (CAS ’25), a GSP member and new transfer student, said at the kickoff event that GSP helps alleviate the struggles of belonging that come with being both FGLI and new to Georgetown.
“Honestly, it’s been one of the very few grounding programs that has helped me transition better. Because it was a spring transfer, that also did not help,” Juarez said at the event. “I got a few hours of orientation, right, the day before class. It was very like, ‘just throw me in the pot’ type of vibe, so it was very difficult at first.”
“But GSP was actually one of the very few orgs I was in touch with before I got here, and that really helped me to just feel like somebody was expecting me and was excited for me to join the community,” Juarez added.